Architecture and the Demise of Architecture
It is no longer necessary [and probably hasn't been for years] to attend a school to receive an education from it, if an education is the acquisition of knowledge and not just a piece of paper that you are handed at the end of a stage.
This is something I've been turning over since I first started university in 2005. Over the years I've seen a shocking amount of apathy where there are supposed to be critically thinking scholars. The easiest answer is that many universities are, and have been for a long time, an enterprise for profitability instead of educational institutions for the culturing of knowledge. There remains the possibility to be educated... but there also remains the possibility to just 'get what you paid for' (which is the route that many choose).
They hold up ideas of collaboration as a means to achieve something higher, and to a certain extent I believe they may be on to something, but involvement of other professions into architecture can be dangerous to the field itself.
I think that the collaboration of professions and the culmination of ideas from many disciplines is to the benefit of design in general. I also think that if architects are THAT worried about the strength of architecture 'holding it's own' in collaboration with other disciplines, it is extremely telling about the position of the discipline itself.
To me this problem is ultimately connected to the 'education' issue, in that, as with any university degree, one is very much able to go through university and become a certified professional without having any idea of what that means. Congratulations, you graduated. Now what?
And so students merrily go along, believing that walls have mystical meaning and that they can do really well in life if they just pull 3 all-nighters before their final project is due, and that they can use all kinds of diagrammatic post-rationalization as the main method of explaining what the crap they are imposing on humanity in their urban schemes.
Of course if you look at it this way, the future of the profession looks a little bleak.
But then we strike gold...
Architects often claim to have some sort of legitimate knowledge of other professions like Engineering, Sociology, and Liberal Arts. Why not validate these claims through a more extensive education process that ultimately not only creates architects who design buildings, but professionals who have a grasp on the entire world around them.
See, it's really simple. Architecture education needs to branch outside of its current microscopic focus on the 'design via mystical inspiration' theme and start educating students in the multifarious related subjects that can enrich the practice of the discipline.
Everyone gets it.
Well, everyone except the deans of the faculties and the self-important directors of curriculum. Remember, architecture is very important! The basis of all society is architecture! Our world would not be what it is without architecture!
Maybe if instructors and professionals were ready to let go of the useless notion of architecture as some kind of noble art and would get down to the translation and passing-on of knowledge—including a specialized education in other disciplines—we'd have a shot at holding our own with the other professions instead of looking like idiots when people ask us 'So what is it that architects do...?